Why You Simply Must Get To Know Your Target Listener Intimately
Nobody would argue the value of knowing who your audience is, and understanding their lifestyle. That’s a given.
The debate begins with a discussion of what that really means.
It’s one thing to know general facts about the broad demographic and geographic profile. It’s easy to gather this data from ratings.
It’s yet another to get to the heart of your audience’s values by building a composite profile. Perceptual research or focus groups are often used to reveal some of this information.
It’s still another to dig deeper to understand how that impacts your on-air performance. This requires a keener sense of the listener’s experiences, values and perspective. Research may shed some light on it, but this is much more subjective. It’s a feeling.
When you know them this intimately, you’re able to relate in way that makes you irreplaceable.
How does this knowledge affect your performance?
As the Wizard of Ads, Roy Williams points out:
Information is what you include. Exformation is what you exclude.Do you know what your audience brings to the party? If you tell them what they already know, you bore them.
Air talent that really knows the audience creates a sort of shorthand with them. They just get it.
When Victor Hugo wrote his publisher to ask how his most recent book, Les Miserables, was being received by the public, Hugo simply wrote “?”, to which his publisher replied “!”, to indicate the book was selling well. This exchange would have no meaning to a third party because the power of exformation depends upon prior knowledge that each participant brings to the party.
Talent that doesn’t relate worse insults them by assuming ignorance. They over-explain, which is a barrier to connection. In a sense, you’re wasting their time, making your show irrelevant.
Of course, the magic trick is balancing the deep relationship with your biggest fans while securing new loyalty from a listener base that knows far less about you.